Acharya Nagarjuna – Time Period, Works, Contribution To Ayurveda
Even though direct references are not available as in the case of Charaka, most of the historians believed that:
Acharya Nagarjuna redacted Susruta Samhita and also supplemented the last section, Uttara Tantra.
The name Nagarjuna comes across in many contexts, in ancient Indian literature.
More than 14 references are seen in the name of Nagarjuna and about 100 works are attributed to his authorship.
The following are important references to be noted.
1. Nagarjuna was the contemporary of king Kanishka. He was the author of a treatise titled Upaya Hridaya”.
2. Nagarjuna is considered Bodhisattva 13 and his chief disciple ‘Arya Deva’ is considered the 14 Bodhisattva in Chinese tradition.
As per the references available in ‘Harsha Charitra,” it may be inferred that he was the propounder of a new philosophy of Buddhism, the Madhyandina doctrine of Sunyavada and Goutamiputra Satavahana or Yagnasri Satavahana (106 to 203 AD) was the friend and disciple of Nagarjuna.
Nagarjuna, a Buddhist monk-philosopher and founder of Madhyamika (“Middle Path”) school, is estimated to have lived between 150-250 CE in south India.
Nagarjuna Konda, meaning the hill of Nagarjuna, was named after him and it is situated in Macherla Mandal of the District Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.
It was a great religious center promoting Brahmanical and Buddhist faiths, molding the early phases of art and architecture affiliated with them. It was an extensive Buddhist establishment nourishing several sects of Buddhism that culminated into the full-fledged Mahayana pantheon.
The objects displayed in the museum include carved limestone slabs, sculptures, inscriptions, and other antiquities all assignable to the 3rd-4th century AD, and constitute a majority of the exhibits which include the popular miracles he performed during his lifetime.
More than 25 works were found in his name, such as
Madhyandina Karika – Ratnavali
Vigraha Vyavartini – subrullekha
Dwadasa Mukha Sastra – Maha Prajna paramita Sastra etc.
He was born in a Brahmin family at Vedali’ in the Vidarbha region, a part of ancient Andhra Desa in South India.
In the later period, he stayed for some time at Dhanyakataka (Amaravati, Guntur Dt. of Andhra Pradesh) and moved to Sri Parvata (Srisaila).
In the text Prajna paramita Sastra, the description of Herbs, Minerals, the science of alchemy, Mantra, Tantra, etc. is available.
3. Nagarjuna of Gupta’s period belonged to 4-5 century AD.
4. Nagarjuna, the alchemist (8″-9 century AD) hailed from South India and he was the author of Rasendra Mangala, Kakshaputa Tantra, Yogaratnamala, and many other books on magic, alchemy, and erotics. He studied at Nalanda University as a disciple of ‘Sarahava”.
5. Nagarjuna (9.10 AD) Al-Beruni, the Persian traveler, who visited India between 1017- 1030AD quoted that Nagarjuna was a great scholar of Alchemy.
He lived about one hundred years before his visit, studied at Nalanda University, and also became the dean of the same (Nalanda) University. At that time the dean of Vikramasila University was one of the Naropas from the teachers of ‘Maspa’.
It is very difficult to establish the identity of Nagarjuna the redactor of Susruta Samhita.
In Koutilya Ardhasastra it was noticed that the number of Tantra Yuktis (32) is exactly similar to the description available in the original text, Susruta Samhita. Whereas in Vaghhata Samhita, the description pertaining to Tantra Yuktis is like that of Uttara Tantra of Susruta Samhita.
The period of Ardhasastra was 3 Century AD whereas the period of Vagbhata was 6* Century AD. Hence, it can be concluded that Susruta Samhita might have been redacted after 3 but before 6* Century AD (in between 4″ & 5a AD). The date of Nagarjuna, who redacted Susruta Samhita, can be fixed at 4-5* century A.D., which was the golden period of India, ruled by Gupta kings.
Most probably he may be the author of Rasa Vaiseshika’ and Yoga Sataka”. Many a number of books are in the name of Nagarjuna. Most of them have been translated into the Tibetan language, and are available in the Tanjore Library.